Monthly Archives: February, 2011

Drinking with Glee

I like to watch TV, but my work schedule is so unusual that I don’t often get to watch the shows I like when they actually air. So, tonight, I caught up by watching the last two episodes of Glee.

I was a latecomer to the show, I’ll admit, but last year’s “back nine” were so brilliant that I hunted down all the episodes I’d missed. I managed to catch them all legally, too, ending with the pilot during Oxygen’s recent “So Obsessed” Glee marathon. (I wound up missing most of their Buffy marathon. Sad times.) This season has not been as good. It peaked with the premiere and “Britney/Brittany,” but everything else in the fall was really weak. “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle” was incredible. Every single moment made me laugh out loud, marvel at the performers’ talent, or squeal with glee (pun absolutely intended). Even “Comeback” had some good moments. Say what you will about the Biebs, he’s living the American dream.

Then I watched “Blame It on the Alcohol,” and I was conflicted by the storylines. (It’s not the first time that’s happened. “Grilled Cheesus” deserves a separate post, I think.) The music in general was pretty great, especially the club’s rendition of “Blame It.” Not just anyone can pull off a T-Pain impression. The lighting, costumes, and set were fantastic. I actually like that song, too, because as much as it glamorizes drinking, Mr. Foxx has a point: too much alcohol makes you do dumb things. I’m not sure anyone hears that from the song except me, though. (On a related though tangential note, I have similar sentiments about “Break Your Heart.” Taio’s trying to be honest; if you don’t take the warning, that’s your fault.)

The problem I have is that the episode fails to take a stance. It contents itself with the apathy of “they’re going to do it anyway, so let’s just not bother them about it.” Sorry. Not good enough. Compare the situation to driving. You have to have a license to do it, and you can’t get one unless you’re a certain age. People younger than the minimum age might have all the intellectual and physical abilities one needs to do it, but we still don’t let them. If done recklessly, it can kill you. Yet we hear no clamoring to lower the driving age.

A communication professor of mine (Art Herbig) at UMD once proposed a graduated licensing system for drinking like my state and many others have for driving. You would be able to drink under parental supervision for a defined period of time, then unsupervised but with restrictions. Provisional driving isn’t allowed after midnight; for drinking, perhaps no more than one drink per ninety minutes could be consumed with a maximum number of drinks for a single night. No matter what solution is offered, there ought to be a solution. “Just let them do what they want as long as they don’t die” is not an acceptable answer.

Friday Five: The Newspaper

Oh, man. This is a throwback! I can’t remember the last time I read an actual, printed-on-newsprint newspaper. Even when I’ve been back home and there has been a real paper in the house, I only pick up the comics and the WashPo Magazine.

  1. What is your favorite section of the newspaper? As I just said, I like to read the WashPo Magazine best. Sometimes the NYT Mag as well. If I have to pick up a real paper, it would either be the A section for general news or the Style section.
  2. Sunday comics or weekday strips? Which comic is your favorite? I like that the Sunday comics are in color, but it can be super fun to follow the storylines throughout the weekdays. I like Baldo, Zits, Baby Blues, Beetle Bailey, and Cathy when I do pick up a paper.
  3. Do you read your daily horoscope? Do you believe in it? I used to read the monthly ones in my teen magazines (I read Seventeen, Teen People, and CosmoGirl for years*), but I gave them up after I went back to church. It’s just easier not to get tangled up in that kind of thing, even when it seems like it’s just for fun.
  4. Does the paper become bird cage lining, do you recycle, or does it get thrown in the trash? I recycle whenever possible. I don’t get a newspaper at home, but I do recycle the sales circulars that come in the mail separately.
  5. Where do you read the paper? At home, at work, or elsewhere? I skim The Daily Texan because it’s vaguely work-related, but I only read it online!

*Whoa. I did some Wikipedia-ing just now. CG and TP both stopped publishing? I remember owning the very first issues of both of those. Too bad I had lost interest a few years before; it would have been kind of cool to own the first and last issues. It’s hard to fight Seventeen‘s longevity, though.

The Friday Five

“Did that really just happen?”

You may or may not know that my family is a little nuts. I don’t write about them here often out of respect for their privacy (and because I’m pretty sure they don’t know I blog), and we get along okay, but we tend to make scenes in public. We’re loud laughers.

We were throwing a party once, or maybe it was just that my grandma was visiting after we’d had one, and we still had an abundance of red plastic cups. (No, not for that.)

Anyway, my mom had gotten some more ice for my grandma, and she went to slide the cup across the table to her, but she pushed too hard. We all watched as the cup zoomed across the table, teetered on the edge for half a second, and fell right over the edge onto the carpet. The look on my mom’s face was priceless, and we all burst out laughing. It was the kind of thing they have to set up carefully in movies so it happens just right. The moment was so small, but it perfectly encapsulates my family’s nuttiness.

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Switchfoot “Hymns” through Austin Doors

It’s no secret that Switchfoot is my favorite band. While playing music on my computer for some students recently, I realized that my “Christian Music” autoplaylist is really more like a “Switchfoot and a couple of other artists” playlist. I’m eager for Vice Verses to be finished soon, but in the meantime, I finally got around to ordering the Eastern Hymns for Western Shores EP.

It arrived very quickly. I was super excited to find, first, that the package fit in my teeny apartment mailbox, and second, the unique packaging that was designed for this EP. The outside was super cool: it’s designed to look like an old-fashioned wrapped parcel from a souvenir shop.

EP packaging

That’s a real sticker, and it says, “Thank you for visiting the Eastern Hymns for Western Shores Gift Shop.” I was so sad that I had to peel it off to get to the CD, but I just did it very carefully so it’d stay intact. It’s not sticky anymore, though. Sad times. I would have appreciated a second of the same sticker inside the packet.

What was inside the packet were six old school kitschy postcards. I expected more than just handwritten song titles on them. Lyrics would be nice, like in Jon’s seasonal EPs. The CD is in a separate slipcover with very lightly embossed stamps and a postmark, so that’s pretty nifty.

As for the content of the CD, I was a little disappointed. I think I prefer the album version of “Dirty Second Hands” from Oh! Gravity. I also already had “Daylight to Break” from the pre-Oh! Gravity. email download, but the Eastern Hymns version sounds remastered. The lyrics aren’t drowned by the instruments anymore, so that’s a big plus. And the song titles show up on my car’s CD player, which, although that is pretty much a standard now, is nice to have even on an EP.

my car displaying the EP title

Overall, I’m not sure this album was completely worth it. I received a copy of the Oh! EP. in the outer packaging (not the Eastern Hymns brown baggie part), which would be a great surprise if I didn’t already own it from my preorder of Oh. Gravity! The new songs are pretty standard fare: some that sound like the older stuff, some that sound like the newer stuff from Hello Hurricane. At the very least, it makes me very excited for Vice Verses. Bring on the full-length album!

Workin’ for the Weekend

I do not work on Fridays, so tomorrow is basically weekend eve for me, and this week, I am so very glad that Tuesday is finally ending. I have to work this weekend (and most weekends until May), even counting Sunday as a work day, so I’m even more excited for Friday to arrive.

As I’ve said before, I do like my job, though, and I’m not just reiterating because I mentioned my blog in passing at work. If I could do anything, I would find a way to make professional dessert tasting a job with zero added fat and calories. Dessert tasting in general would be cool, but I’d pay for it. I’m not proud at the weight I’ve managed to gain since I left ACE. Apparently, standing and walking around school all day helped me keep off extra pounds more than I realized. But all the deliciousness that has led me here has been so worth it.

On the flip side, my worst job ever was one that I backhandedly recommend quite highly. At Maryland, we had a five- to six-week winter break: not quite long enough to get a regular job, but too long to just lay around the house the whole time. On Maura’s advice, I started working for a temp agency. One winter, they sent me to a company that received payments. You know how you mail credit card payments to a random address? That was the company that got all those payments. Some people spent all day putting envelopes through automatic opening machines and separating the payment coupons from the checks and money orders. Other people put the checks through scanners. Then came me: I sat in front of a computer for eight hours a day for nine miserable days, looking at scanned images of checks and punching in the amounts using the number pad on my keyboard. Over and over and over. Those were the worst nine days of my working life.

I came away with some good life info, though. One, data entry is an awful job. Two, many people don’t know how to write a check. Three, working just for the money is not worth it. One of my life’s ambitions is to find a job that makes me truly happy. Data entry was definitely not it. Maybe this job is.

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Rose-Colored Glasses?

I try to be an optimist, but sometimes I’m bad at it.

Take my Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator. I originally tested ISFJ. I was fooling myself. I am a borderline P who wants desperately to become a J, but I am not as much of a J as my test scores would indicate. I have become less P over time, but I’m still not a J. On the other hand, I did actually switch from I to E, though I’m still pretty solidly in the middle.

I may be young, but I have enough variety in my background to have seen many different ways of living and understanding the world. I know that bad things happen to good people. But I know that incredibly good things happen to good people, too.

I have faith, sure, but I also have hope. On the CSC Faith, Hope, and Love spring retreat, I was part of the leadership team, so I did a lot of research before the retreat to try to understand what hope really meant. I came to see it as trust, trust that there is a purpose in life, trust that people are naturally good, trust that things will work out. That trust helped inform my faith life, but practically, it helped make me less high-strung. (I can be strung pretty high, let me tell you.) I’m not exactly wearing rose-colored glasses, but I’m no misanthrope, either.

welcome mat that says "leave"

photo by Gossamer1013

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Practical Media Discernment

I have a love/hate relationship with How I Met Your Mother. It is very similar to my relationship with Grey’s Anatomy. They are both TV shows that I love and will make an effort to stay current on, although I am regularly still at work when they air. (That hasn’t been true for Grey’s in a while, but only because Thursday night work activities don’t require my presence as regularly.) They are both shows with great characterization, which is really what I need in a TV show. If I’m not laughing constantly, I need someone to identify with, to root for, to hate, and to love. And yes, those can be the same person, depending on how the show goes. HIMYM isn’t even really about how Ted met his kids’ mother anymore, and I love it for and in spite of that. (I love Friends, too!)

love and hate playing cards

photo by Patricia Lobo

At the same time, I hate them both so much. The characters make so many life decisions that I think are ill-advised at best and idiotic at worst. Barney Stinson is the scum of the Earth. None of the Grey’s characters can have a healthy marriage to save their lives (not even Meredith and Derek, though they’re doing the best so far). Almost all the things I consider morally objectionable have been done by characters on those shows.

Yet I can’t stop watching. I’m secure enough in myself to watch without the urge to imitate, but I never forget that many people will judge me as a hypocrite for not just avoiding that content altogether. I’m not willing to live in a bubble, though. I might pick and choose what morally offensive content I’m willing to put up with, but it’s still my prerogative to do so. I’m a big girl. I stand by my decisions.

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